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“Don’t Ball the Boss” is a whopper of a good time. If you’re offended by homosexuality, cussing, or super hot British actors, do not read. This hilarious and irreverent short story is featured in The Stoneslide Corrective today, and I dedicate every word to the adoring Cumber Collective and/or my Cumberbitches (depending on how you identify). Definitely rated R.

Don’t Ball the Boss
by Sara Dobie Bauer

Rule number one: don’t fuck the boss. Even if he is doing that thing he does when he’s nervous. He pulls on the cuffs of his dress shirt. I don’t think he even knows he does it, and the movement makes me want to rip that Dolce and Gabbana shirt right off. I pretend not to watch.

There are five of us in his hotel room. His driver is in the restroom; then, there’s his tailor and me. His blond agent sits on the edge of his bed with her smart phone. She’s talking to someone and says, “Not her. Don’t make him sit next to her at the premiere.” I can tell she’s eating this up, the way America is eating him up, the way I would love—Jesus, I’m fucking starving.

a1e18c7cbcc4fa18cec0a9520b8444e2“David?”

I give myself permission to look at him when he addresses me.

The tailor, an old dude with glasses like Olivier in Marathon Man, drapes a tuxedo coat over his shoulders.

“How’s the fit?”

I casually address six feet of British politeness and fold my hands over my crotch. “Perfect, sir.”

“I keep telling you not to call me sir. Call me Nicholas.”

Not Nick. I’ve noticed no one calls him Nick. And tonight is his night.

***

A friend called a week ago and asked if I was looking for work. In Hollywood, shit, we’re always looking for work. I’m a personal assistant to the stars, and I’m real good—like Meryl Streep at Oscar time good. They say I’m discreet and subservient; stars like that.

So my pal calls up and tells me there’s this up and coming British star on his way over for a movie premiere. The film is huge, the kind that makes back its budget in a night, and this Brit plays the bad guy. He’s never been to Hollywood. He needs someone who knows the right barbers, tailors, call girls …

That’s where I come in: David Baron, assistant to the stars. And I’m not given to flights of fancy.

I’ve assisted maybe a hundred newbie celebs over the years and felt not a twitch in my pants. I took one look at Nicholas Pike and thought about quitting because PA’s don’t fuck the client. In the business, we tell stories about PA’s who did. They end up as homeless hookers.

***

We’re standing around, waiting to leave for his big movie premiere, and his agent won’t shut up. God, I hate her, been listening to her ever since Nicholas got here. She’s too blond, fake blond, and her British accent isn’t like his. Nicholas is all Oxford-sounding; she’s like the wenches in Oliver Twist. She has terrible style, too—wears pink lipstick, and nobody outside 1985 wears pink lipstick.

She’s giving Nicholas the time breakdown for tonight’s movie premiere, and he’s rubbing the space between his neck and shoulder. He’s been doing that a lot, but unlike the cuff pulling, this isn’t a nervous twitch. He injured his neck doing a stunt for a film he’s making in England. I know this because he told me. He tells me a lot of things.

For instance:
He’s never once in his life considered smoking a bad habit.
Without a stylist, he would have no idea how to dress himself.
Finally, he believes his sudden and newly realized status as a sex symbol makes no sense. (Quote: “I’ve had the same face since I was twenty!”)

I explained to him days ago it’s all about the role. A role can make somebody, and although I haven’t seen him play the villain, I have no doubt: he’s made it. He’s been doing appearances all week, me at his side, and when we step outside the limo, it’s mania. Women are everywhere, screaming his name, waving pictures for him to sign, and he does sign them. We’ve been late to every single appearance this week, because he loves signing things, having his picture taken. He loves his fans, and I wonder if this is a British thing. He has more manners than an auditorium full of nuns.

I’m his assistant, yet he makes sure I order first at restaurants. He holds the door—for me. He smiles at me in crowds, apparently to make sure I’m all right, and it’s his manners that do it. The manners make me want to fuck him, just shove him against a wall somewhere and swallow his protests with hot, sloppy kisses.

How do things end up for David and Nicholas?

FIND OUT AT STONESLIDE CORRECTIVE!

Five months ago, Valerie’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire in their high school cafeteria. He targeted people who made their “Hate List:” a collection of people who harassed them, picked on them, and made their lives at Garvin High a living hell. Valerie had no idea he was going to go this far, but in his way, Nick did it for her. To stop the bloodshed, Valerie ended up getting shot before Nick took his own life.

Now, Valerie must return to her high school with an injured leg and face the consequences of Nick’s actions and their shared Hate List—which of course made the news. People aren’t sure if she’s a victim, a hero, or an accomplice, and many students are shocked Valerie even returned. How dare she show her face after the pain she and her boyfriend caused?

6316171Hate List is author Jennifer Brown’s debut, and what a way to arrive on the literary scene. Hate List is very dark, but interestingly, Brown is a two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award. Obviously, she’s multi-talented.

As you may expect, Hate List is not—not—an easy read. Despite beautiful flowing prose and a likeable protagonist in Valerie, I spent most of my reading time in tears. This book is considered YA fiction, but for me, it read like a ghost story.

Valerie is haunted by the memory of Nick, the boy she loved. The intimate flashbacks of how they met and fell in love make his ultimate murder spree all the more painful. Nick and Valerie were happy together. They acted like teens in love, stealing kisses, laughing, chasing each other around kitchen counters over the sound of Valerie’s giggles. The memory of Nick haunts her, and she still can’t believe what he did. When they talked about their Hate List, suicide, and murder, how did she not see that he was serious?

Valerie is the town villain when she returns to school, and she’s surrounded by a cast of characters you either like or thoroughly dislike. Her parents are an absolute mess and blame her for the shooting (as do many of her fellow students). She finds solace in her supportive therapist, Dr. Hieler; in unlikely classmate Jessica; and in crazy painter lady, Bea. Still, Valerie’s healing has nothing to do with them—not really. On her own, she needs to say goodbye to the past and forgive Nick. Forgive herself.

This book made me rethink so much of my own high school experience. How many people did I wrong? How many mean things did I say? Since my friends and I were nerds, we had a nickname for the popular girls: Snob Squad. I channeled my hate into cutting myself, but what would I have done, pushed to the edge like Nick?

stop-bullying-sourceNick the shooter is one of the most sympathetic characters in Hate List. We see him through Valerie’s flashbacks, and he was charming, sweet, and abused by his fellow classmates. Even though the cafeteria shooting scene is horrific, I couldn’t help but feel attached to the ghost of this young man. If only someone had saved him before it was too late. He haunts the pages of Jennifer’s Brown’s debut. He haunts me now.

I wish this book could be required reading in junior highs across America, but Lord knows, it would get banned. Much like the idiotic principal at Garvin High who wants the media to believe the students have recovered from the massacre and that they’re all lovey-dovey after the fact, the world wants us to believe “the kids are all right.”

The kids aren’t all right. We never were. How many of us suffered through depression and thoughts of suicide in high school? How many of us had friends who actually went through with it—ended up hanging from their parents’ chandelier in Small Town, Ohio? I did. Although I did not have a Hate List, I hated people. And hate leads to nothing good.

I suggest Jennifer Brown’s debut to teens and adults alike (especially adults with children). There is a lot to learn here about love, forgiveness, and the poison of bullying turned to anger and violence. How do good kids become monsters? The step by step process is there if we’re willing to look. Instead, we turn a blind eye.

Well, open your eyes. Hate is real, and its consequences are devastating. Buy the book HERE.

205d7b0535b92381bbc264a5adca7bdc

Query letters are supposed to be catchy, succinct, and intriguing. They’re also a pain in the ass to write. As I prepare to sell my manuscript, Bite Somebody, I must first prepare a dreaded query letter. That’s where you come in.

Kindly read the following query letter and tell me if it a) makes you wanna read my book and b) flows and/or makes sense. If all goes well, maybe I’ll mention you in the Acknowledgments.

Bite Somebody Query Letter: First Draft

All Celia wanted was her first bite and a cute boyfriend.

She expected her life to change when she became a vampire, but she’s the same chubby, awkward Pretty Woman-loving girl she’s always been. Abandoned by her maker, the opportunity for change arrives in the form of Ian, her new neighbor at Florida’s Sleeping Gull Apartments.

Ian is a goofy ex-surfer who likes Jeopardy and, to her surprise, Celia. Despite the nagging of Imogene, her only vampire friend, Celia can’t get her fangs to go “boing” at the right time, and her first bite seems less and less attainable.

When Ian makes his romantic move, Danny, Celia’s jerk of a creator, returns for a favor. He wants to harvest Ian’s human blood, because Ian’s blood smells like Christmas wrapped in bacon and they could make a fortune. But the last thing Celia wants is her cute boyfriend dead.

Bite Somebody: A Bloodsucker’s Diary is a 75,000 word YA paranormal romance parody set at the beach, and nothing and nobody are what they seem.

My name is Sara Dobie Bauer. I’m a vampire enthusiast and fan of Christopher Moore and Gregory Maguire. I earned my creative writing degree from Ohio University and am the official book nerd at SheKnows.com. My short fiction has appeared in The Molotov Cocktail, Stoneslide Corrective, and Solarcide.

A full synopsis and manuscript are available upon request. Intelligent vampire fans who don’t take themselves at all seriously thank you.

skydiving
A friend of mine was a pilot who served his country well. Due to his experience, he never understood why someone would pay to go skydiving. In his words: “Why would you jump out of a perfectly good plane?”

My tandem mate Tod asked me this same question last week at Skydive Phoenix as I prepared to do just that. Why? Why would I choose to jump out of a plane at eight thousand feet? I wish I had a good answer, but as I told Tod’s nifty video camera, “I was bored.”

Now, I realize most so-called “normal human beings” wouldn’t get bored and decide to plummet toward Earth with a bag on their back, but you know me: I’m the girl who swam with sharks in Belize; who loves haunted houses and cemeteries at night. I’m the girl who likes to be scared.

When I arrived at Skydive Phoenix Thursday morning, I felt immediately at home. I was surrounded by people younger than me who seemed to be having a damn fine time just hangin’ together. I met Tod, who reminded me of a rock band roadie mixed with a Southern Florida surfer dude. Turns out he was from Ohio. As I chose my Ohio University “House Beer” t-shirt for my jump, we hit it off immediately.

There was little prep work. Sure, I signed all the paperwork that said Jake couldn’t sue anyone if I ended up a pancake. Then, I put on a harness, and we walked to a plane the size of an SUV. The video camera (strapped to Tod’s wrist) came along, and Tod kept asking, “Nervous yet?” Should I be concerned that I wasn’t?

The itty-bitty plane climbed to eight thousand feet. Tod and I were strapped together as we slid to the open door. My last moment of clarity: With my left foot outside the plane, I stared down at the desert below. Then, we jumped.

I can’t say the free fall is clear. I don’t exactly remember the way my body felt, and my mind was blown blank by adrenaline. I think I was screaming (we’ll see once I get the video tape back). What I can say with assurance: the free fall was over much too fast.

As we swung above the earth, tethered to our parachute, the first thing that came to mind: “I need to do this again.”

I had a perfect landing (thank you very much), and I felt like my spirit was still eight thousand feet high. The cool chick at the Skydive Phoenix office confirmed my belief that after skydiving, there are two things that should happen: a cigarette and sex.

I have to thank the team at Skydive Phoenix for making my experience so easy, enjoyable, and fun (including the guy who said he was going to undertake his hundredth jump nude. Now, that would be something to see!). Tod was the perfect crazy person to be tied to, and I already have intentions to do a thirteen thousand-foot jump in the near future.

There’s something about doing irresponsible things that makes me feel alive. Since my jump, all sorts of people have called me crazy for doing it, but I think they’re just jealous they don’t have the balls to let go. Do something that scares you. Do something that makes you freak. Stop working and wake up for a second. Find your own “plane,” and make the jump.

In 2013, director/writer Therese Shechter released the shocking documentary How to Lose Your Virginity. I wasn’t shocked by words like “hymen” or “penis.” I was shocked by our country’s ignorance.

Therese waited longer than most to have sex. When she finally decided to “do it,” she said, “It wasn’t so much because I had found Mr. Right but because I had grown tired of waiting for him.” It was in that moment, in a basement apartment, that Therese realized all the hype about losing her virginity really was just hype. There was no earth shattering before and after. She was still Therese, but she was Therese who’d once had a penis inside her.

The hype surrounding virginity is really a problem. I’m not saying losing your virginity is something to rush into. I waited until I was twenty-seven, and thank God, because I was finally mature enough by then to deal with sex’s ramifications. Thanks to How to Lose Your Virginity, though, I see how insane America is about purity and the unfortunately clichéd theory of “saving yourself.”

How_to_Lose_Your_Virginity,_Official_DOC_NYC_Poster,_Nov_2013Did you know there are “Purity Balls?” In these ceremonies, seven- and eight-year-old girls metaphorically hand their virginity off to their fathers who will then someday hand that gift off to the girl’s husband. Antiquated (and frankly, creepy) practices like this are the reason girls get married so young: so they can finally have sex.

According to the film, one in six American girls take purity pledges. There’s even a Purity Pledge Facebook page. States are financially rewarded for teaching abstinence-only sex education, the product of which seems to be more teens having sex but being stupid about it. I’m all for waiting, but the way we’re educating teens about sex is just making things worse. Abstinence-only education is the sexual equivalent of Hitler burning books.

In How to Lose Your Virginity, Therese does an amazing job of interviewing varied and well-informed sources. She talks to magazine editors, sex educators, and a man on his way to becoming a woman. I was really impressed, honestly, with the creator of the porn series Barely Legal: a woman who had a horrible first sexual experience at the age of thirteen who now uses Barely Legal to rescript a woman’s first time into something sexy and passionate instead of awkward and uncomfortable.

Therese addresses the idea of virgin versus slut. She also questions what defines “virgin” anyway? She looks at the development of history and how patriarchal motifs have made women into objects to own, just as our virginity is something we “give away” like a birthday gift.

How to Lose Your Virginity is not blatantly sexual. It is not offensive. It is true and powerful. At certain points, I was laughing. At other points, I was wrathful. For instance, one abstinence avowing psychopath said she did support gays being abstinent, as well, until marriage … but since her organization did not believe in gay marriage, gay people have to be celibate their entire lives. One young man was asked the reasonable number of sexual partners to have in a lifetime. According to him, men could have as many as they wanted, while women could only have five.

This documentary will rile you up as well as inform you. I suggest it to anyone—women and men alike—who believe in sexual freedom. As Therese says, instead of “giving up” our virginity, let’s give up our myths about virginity. Preach, sister.

For more info, visit http://www.virginitymovie.com. Also, please check out this amazingly informative website for youth: http://www.scarleteen.com.

The Molotov Cocktail is self-described as “A Projectile for Incendiary Flash Fiction.” Understand I don’t usually write flash fiction, but something about the magazine: the look, the content, the attitude … I had to be part of it.

The perfect opportunity arrived when we had a garage sale two weeks ago, and I realized I hate garage sales. While sitting there, watching people dig through my belongings, I wrote an essay with only Molotov Cocktail in mind. Blessing of blessings, they accepted it.

For your deviant enjoyment, The Molotov Cocktail presents “You Need My Shit.” (Oh, you really do.)

You Need My Shit
by Sara Dobie Bauer

My husband suggested I keep my revolver in a little box during our garage sale just in case. It never occurred to me to be worried about people robbing my African statue that looks like it’s taking a shit.

Seven AM in Phoenix feels like living in a stove set to three-fifty. People show up and dig through piles of clothes I used to wear. Strange the things you remember, like how I once posed for a female friend’s camera in that corset with the red skull on the front.

There’s this one guy who shows up in a suit and tie. He laughs when I tell him he’s overdressed. He’s too friendly. I think about my revolver in the little shoebox at my side. Then, he goes into his Jehovah’s Witness spiel, and I think about the gun even more.

(So do I really get to shoot anyone? Read on at Molotov Cocktail‘s website, Volume 5, Issue 11.)

Photo credit: Boise Daily Photo

Photo credit: Boise Daily Photo

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